It is now estimated that over 170 people have been killed and many more are missing following severe flooding in Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries and a country Scotland has had special ties with dating back to the work of missionaries and Dr David Livingstone.
Flood victims rush to rescue boat in Makalanga, Malawi. Image from UNDP via flickr
In response to the disaster, Scottish MEP Alyn Smith, a member of the Foreign Affairs committee, is calling for swift mobilisation of emergency assistance to ensure effective and rapid support for those affected by the floods.
“Malawi's heavy flooding has submerged whole villages, destroying homes, drowning crops and washing away livestock - this is a real state of emergency and the EU should respond to the immediate needs of the Malawian people and support the UN World Food Programme.
“This is not just a tragedy that will last a few days or weeks until the ground dries up. For many, it will last for years. This is why we need to raise awareness of the events in Malawi and generate as much support in Scotland and the EU as possible.
“The Scottish Government are urgently working to explore how best it can respond to this humanitarian crisis, offering assistance on the ground but the needs are vast among poorest and most vulnerable communities.
“I’ve asked the European Commission to form their response to this disaster and to the plea from UN World Food Programme, which urgently needs USD18 million to continue its assistance to Malawi's flood victims.
“Floods cause death and devastation for years, destroying crops, causing famine and spreading disease. High waters wash away homes, possessions and people’s livelihoods. If this special relationship with Malawi is to continue we must respond to appeals from organisations trying to deliver assistance on the ground and put pressure on the EU to act now.”